Monday, April 27, 2009
Printsy Interview - Helen Gotlib
Name: Helen Gotlib
Helen Gotlib was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In college, Gotlib divided her time between printmaking and scientific illustration. Her experience in scientific illustration helped her develop her ability to produce very detailed work. Her interest in printmaking evolved as she studied many different methods including lithography, intaglio, and wood block printmaking with water-based inks.
Gotlib has traveled extensively. Her observations of people and customs in Japan, China and Israel have influenced her perception of the human body and how expressive it is. Her life drawings reflect what people can express with isolated parts of their bodies.
Gotlib’s work has been exhibited in numerous juried shows across the country.
How did you get started in printmaking?
Well I remember it was my second semester in art school and I really wanted to take figure drawing but the class was totally full and the only thing that was left at my registration time was an intro to intaglio class. I was kind of mad at the time because I could not do figure drawing but after just one class of printmaking I became totally obsessed with it!(I started skipping all my other classes just to be in the PM studio!)
Describe where you work.
I work in my little studio in Ann Arbor, MI. My boyfriend and I have a 2 bedroom house and the whole first floor is devoted to our art studios for printmaking, drawing and painting. We always have a bazillion projects going on and not enough space!!! I bought my first etching press about 3 years ago now and I love it!(It’s the main sculpture in our house!)It’s no name brand I did not have $10,000 to buy anything too fancy. An auto mechanic in Canada built this press.
What's your favorite printmaking process?
Intaglio hands down! But I have been thinking about combining woodblock and intaglio together lately. I love seeing prints that have so many layers that I can’t figure out how the artist go to the end result.
What's your creative process for any given print? (eg. sketch first? Pre-planned or free-form?)
I go about my print making 2 different ways sometimes for the smaller nudes I have been listing I put some hard ground on to my plate and just take them to figure drawing sessions and draw right into them with a needle point. I really like the spontaneous line I can get when I work that way. The second way is much more premeditated. I copy a image I have already drawn then transfer it by tracing the main lines in to soft ground and go from there.
What do you enjoy most about printmaking?
What's your least favorite part of the process?
Printing with white or silver ink!(I’m still trying to figure that one out…)
What are your inspirations (other artists, people, places, events, etc.)?
Other Artist - Takeshi Takahara, Koichi Yamamoto, Dylan Strzynski, Katherine Luchs, Kathie Kollwitz, Justin Palermo, and many more.
The changing of the seasons also is a big inspiration for some of my more recent works. and the human form.
How has your work changed and evolved since you started?
I don’t draw stick figures as much any more.
How do you get past creative slumps?
Walk away from a project and take a break! Also I think it helps that I kind of have built in brake because I travel a lot to show my work.
How do you promote your work?
Mainly by traveling around the country and doing the Art Fair circuit here in the US. I do about 10 shows a year.
I also enter some juried gallery exhibitions from time to time.
Oh and a few magazine competitions as well!
Really I figure anyway you can get people to see your work is good! And I always have business cards on me so I can direct people to my website.
Any other comments or advice for others who want to try making hand-pulled prints?
Try taking a class at your local collage or applying to an artist in residency some were that has lots of equipment for you to play around on and experiment with before picking one medium! For any one on the west coast or wanting to go there I highly recommend the KALA Art Institute. It’s a HUGE printmaking studio located in Berkeley, CA. In the old Heinz ketchup factory! A must see for printmakers!